The Learning Organization is Born
Comino – Dexion
A learning organization of both vertical and horizontal varieties came into existence some 60 years ago, when a Greek–Australian resident in Great Britain started up the Krisson Printing Company in a basement in central London. Out of those humble origins Demetrius Comino developed his company Dexion, creating, in time, an industry for storage and materials-handling equipment that has spread world-wide.
More importantly for our theme, however, Comino created an organization geared toward innovative learning. We shall take Dexion International as our example of the learning community or organization, making due reference to Comino's pioneering thoughts and actions:
In Dexion we believe that a company is a living organism; in order to be really healthy, it must grow and develop. We therefore regard growth as fundamental. The most important single requirement therefore laid on us is the requirement of learning, or, to put it differently, it's how it is that we can become effective systems for our own transformation, as individuals and as organizations. Such self-transformation (learning) must become a continuing process, a way of life1.
In 1927 Comino, a qualified mechanical engineer, left his employer to set up a venture of his own. He had no idea what business he wanted to go into, but he did have some very definite intimations of the kind of organizational learning he wanted to create. He described this ...